Steve Smith Hits IR, Somewhere DeSean Jackson Bangs Own Head Against Wall

Steve Smith Hits IR, Somewhere DeSean Jackson Bangs Own Head Against Wall

For the low, low price of $3.058 million, DeSean Jackson will play in 57 games and counting over four seasons for your football club. He'll catch 219 passes for 3,892 yards and 20 touchdowns, stretching defenses in a way that opens up the field for your entire offense. He will also carry the ball 49 times for an additional 351 yards and three touchdowns. He'll even return 116 punts for 1,227 yards and four touchdowns, and he'll do it all while going to a pair of Pro Bowls and garnering an All Pro selection.

For $2.281 million, Steve Smith will join your football club in August, nine months removed from microfracture surgery on his knee. He will play in all of nine games, during which he will catch 11 passes for 124 yards and a single score. Then, he will go on injured reserve with a bone bruise on the same knee his previous football club was concerned would not be 100% at any point this year.

Which player would you rather invest in?

I don't fault the Eagles for signing Smith. Jackson was a brief training camp holdout, and Jeremy Maclin was excused while being tested for a mysterious illness, so there were concerns with their own wide receivers. And before the Birds stepped in, Smith was likely headed back to the New York Giants, where he was a Pro Bowl caliber player for a division rival with Eli Manning at the helm.

Steve Smith was available for the taking, and even now that the addition officially did not pan out, you won't hear too much buyer's remorse from me.

Unless, of course, Smith's signing had anything to do with DeSean Jackson not getting paid.

DJac has been anything but fun to watch this season. He's dropped a million passes. He shies away from any and all contact. He seems completely disinterested in returning punts. His attitude caused him to be deactivated in one game, and resulted in a penalty that erased a momentum-swinging play in another.

His numbers have dipped, and his relationship with the organization appears to be fractured.

And yet, while I don't agree even the slightest bit with the way DeSean has conducted himself on the field, the popular opinion is much of this could have been avoided had the Eagles simply signed him to a new contract this offseason. Now, not only have we received a questionable effort from a star player capable of breaking games wide open, but the front office may be left with no other choice except to use the franchise tag, then trade one of their most gifted athletes.

If any of it has anything to do with Steve Smith, then the Eagles messed up badly. To be fair, we don't have all the facts at this point. It's possible the two sides could not agree on Jackson's value. As amazing as he is, DJac is not a conventional standout who will catch 100 balls, nor a monster who can jump over the defense and rip a pass out of the sky.

But by albeit simplistic comparison -- wasting $2 million on Steve Smith to produce next to nothing, while DeSean Jackson sulks and daydreams about making piles of money elsewhere -- the whole situation just looks plain awful.

>> Eagles place Smith on IR with bone bruise [CSN]

Flyers Injury Update: Jordan Weal practices, but won't play vs. Washington

Flyers Injury Update: Jordan Weal practices, but won't play vs. Washington

VOORHEES, N.J. — Jordan Weal participated in the Flyers' full practice Tuesday at Skate Zone, but will remain out of the lineup against Washington on Wednesday with an apparent concussion.

He was nailed in Edmonton by Oilers defenseman Eric Gryba. The hit in the corner came at 13:57 of the opening period.

Video replays show Gryba sandwiched Weal hard on the boards with Weal striking his head and right shoulder, then falling to the ice. Actually, Gryba hit him earlier in the period, as well, but it was the second hit that seemed to go the most damage. 

Weal said both he and trainer Jim McCrossin agreed it was better to not return to the game after the second hit.

“He kind of drove me in pretty good there,” Weal said. “It’s a hockey play, though. Not much you can do.” 

The Flyers are being cautious with the head injury.

Coach Dave Hakstol was vague as to when Weal would re-enter the lineup. Weal had just been called up last week to replace Travis Konecny, who was placed on IR.

“I feel good,” said Weal, who took extra practice on Tuesday. “It definitely has been progressing every day ... I’m day-to-day and as soon as I’m ready to go, I’m ready to go.

“It’s one of those injuries you just have to take your time with. I think when I feel I’m ready to play, I’ll be in.

“It’s frustrating. But it’s part of the game. With these injuries, it’s tougher than if it was, say your finger or your shin or something where you could put ice on it and get it better. You just have to treat it right and get back as quick as I can.”

Gudas’ departure
Defenseman Radko Gudas left early during what was a brief but long-delayed 45-minute practice on Tuesday.

What was noteworthy about Gudas’ departure, however, was that he picked up his gear and headed back to the dressing room while both trainers remained on the bench.

So he wasn’t injured.

Immediate speculation was that he might have been traded. An hour later, general manager Ron Hextall announced Gudas had a dentist appointment to fix a broken tooth, incurred during the recent road trip.

Needless to say, Gudas’ leaving blew up Twitter with trade rumors.

Lower, lower body
Jake Voracek took a shot below the belt line and couldn't stand for a few minutes near the end of practice. He remained in obvious pain in the dressing room and did not talk … as if he could. 

Michael Del Zotto on trade watch as NHL deadline nears

Michael Del Zotto on trade watch as NHL deadline nears

VOORHEES, N.J. — Michael Del Zotto knows the score.

With the NHL trade deadline just a week away, this can be a very uncomfortable time of year for an unrestricted free-agent-to-be.

Players who are expecting a pay day on a club where there are at least two or three younger and far less expensive rookies anticipating a promotion, know what that implies.

They’re on trade watch.

“It happens every year,” Del Zotto said. “It’s not like it’s the first time. I’ve been traded before. It is what it is. It’s a business.

“You realize that pretty early in your career. I understand where I’m at as far as my contract, being a UFA this summer.

“Same thing with taking each game one day at a time. You take each day one day at a time. Go home, make dinner, get ready for tomorrow and whatever happens, happens.”

The 26-year-old Del Zotto was traded in 2013-14 from the New York Rangers to Nashville. That trade occurred in January, well before the deadline, during a season after which he was about to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time.

That same summer, Del Zotto signed a one-year deal with the Flyers for $1.3 million. His current deal pays him $3.875 million. He’d have to take a pay cut to stay here given the long line of prospects ready to step in at a first-year NHL salary and that fact he has struggled defensively this season.

Del Zotto averages 19:23 ice time. He has 10 points in 32 games and is second among Flyers defensemen with 113 hits. He’s missed a total of 22 games this season with two different injuries, one to his left knee, the other to his left leg.

If you had a chart ranking of Flyers likely to be dealt at next Wednesday’s deadline, Del Zotto would be No. 1, with Mark Streit and one of the Flyers’ two goalies right behind him.

If possible, general manager Ron Hextall would like to add draft picks at the deadline.

“It’s a business and these things are out of your control,” Del Zotto said.

When he was traded to Nashville a few years ago, Del Zotto said he saw it coming.

“Anytime it does happen, and for the first time, it hits you hard,” he said. “Being in New York, I had my brother and wife living with me, it made it extra tough. With our schedule being tough, you don’t get to see them very often, but with them living with me, it was pretty special.

“That’s what hurt the most. Leaving my family. I decided, it’s a business and you never know when it can or can’t happen ...”

The line behind him in Philadelphia includes Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Travis Sanheim, Philippe Myers, etc.  

Del Zotto laughed and admitted he’s aware of those waiting.

“That’s the part of the game that is out of my control,” he said. “That is why you have the GM and coaching staff. To make those decisions. My job is to come into work every day, give everything you have.

“That’s one thing. I can always look myself in the mirror. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I give everything I have every day. At the end of the day, if I can look myself in the mirror, I’m happy. That’s all I can control.”

The Flyers host Washington on Wednesday before going to Pittsburgh for their Stadium Series outdoor game this weekend.

"[Those] are huge four-point games for us," he said. "We can't overlook that. We know where we are in the standings."